2013 New Town Award Recipient
Wally Graffen, Director of Organization Development-Midwest Region for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, received the Carthage “New Town” Award on May 26, 2013. Mr. Graffen has devoted his career to the Boys & Girls Club organization, which strives to inspire and enable all young people to realize their full potential. His association with the Boys & Girls Club began in 1970, when he became the ninth member of the Boys Club of Oshkosh, Wis. In 1979, he received the Boys Club of Oshkosh Youth of the Year Award. He began working for the Oshkosh organization one year later. From 1980 to 1993, he held the positions of program director, facility director, and assistant executive director.
In 1993, Mr. Graffen was named executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha. Under his leadership, the organization grew from serving 130 Kenosha youth to more than 9,000. Its annual budget expanded from $150,000 to $2 million. Today, the Kenosha organization has 12 locations and one athletic park. A new 80,000-square-foot facility opened in June 2011. Mr. Graffen was a driving force behind the facility’s successful $13.8 million capital campaign. Housing the Madrigrano Family Sports Complex and the Natalie and Dennis Troha Youth Center, the Kenosha facility is one of the largest in the nation.
In October 2012, Mr. Graffen accepted a position with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America as a Regional Service Director, and became the Midwest Region’s Director of Organization Development in February 2013.
Mr. Graffen has served many community organizations. He served as president of his daughter’s Parent Teacher Association and swim team, and as a board member for the Kenosha Chamber of Commerce. He also served on the Kenosha County Economic Development and Workforce Development boards.
Mr. Graffen has been recognized as Boys & Girls Club of Oshkosh Alumni Association Member of the Year (1992), Oshkosh Jaycee Member of the Year (1992), Executive Director of the Year Boys & Girls Clubs in Wisconsin (1999), Boys & Girls Club of Oshkosh Alumni Hall of Fame Member (1999), Boys & Girls Clubs of America Service to Youth-20 years (2000), Midwest Region Executive Director of the Year (2002), and Rotary Club of Kenosha-West Member of the Year and Paul Harris Recipient (2003).
Mr. Graffen and his wife, Kristen, have a 13-year-old daughter, Kate Elizabeth.